Otakar Švarc

* 1931

  • Next to us, from one side, there lived the Marek family, they were friends, from the other side there were the Oher family and they might be those who, not sure about that, these were to blame for what happened. Because they had a Jewish family hidden during the war. I know it was like that but can´t be sure. A bit about the school. I was in the 8th class and my older brother just left school. This was the war time so he had to go to work to Germany. But as he was still young, father found him a family at Vykleky, but can´t remember their name, where he could do farming. I knew everybody from the village. Next to the Ohers there lived a Zavodník family. I went to school with one of their boys and opposite the Zavodníks there lived the Skopals, these were elderly. I could enumerate the villagers from top to bottom.

  • I know it was in April. About 20th of April. We already heard shooting from Ostrava, some 80 km away, that the front is nearing. But in the village there was peace, still peace. The day it happened, I went to bed at 9 or 10, also my sister. My brother just arrived from Vykleky. He always came by bike. Before I tell you about this, my grandfather had a workshop in our house. He made wheels and barrels and some such things for the locals. I woke up, the sky was red, blazing, my father was holding me and suddenly such shooting, all the window panes blasted out, they were shooting at our house, close to the window, bullets were hitting the wardrobe, I heard all the cracking. Impossible to tell you what was happening. And my sister sleeping next to me says: “Don´t get up or we get killed.“ Then it stopped, the fire got bigger, the house was all in flames, everything was burning.

  • They stopped shooting, brought us out, we couldn´t take anything with us, we had nothing only what we were sleeping in. My father had brought us outside to the Skopals, I didn´t see my brother anymore. My godfather and godmother and their daughter who served as a housekeeper in our house, these were at the Skopals as well. Then they rushed in, the Vlasov´s army mostly. I didn´t see any Germans. The Vlasov´s volunteers all over, and the trousseau and the food that had been prepared, they came in and devoured it all there at the Skopals. There were about ten of them, all big shots. Towards the morning they suddenly packed it up, went outside and one of them came to me to follow them. And another, maybe a commander, says to me they have got enough , just the right number. So I stayed, otherwise they would get off with me as well. And the neighbours, uncle Marek, his son, the Ohera who lived next door, who had the Jewish family there,I didn´t see any of them any more. The Zavodník´s boys, the two they were, they got off with them too. All gone. And when I stepped ouside, our house was already knocked down, everything burnt, we had nothing, nothing, only what I had on me.

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    v bytě pamětníka, 22.05.2015

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Life goes on

Otakar doing his military service, , Lom near Most, 1952
Otakar doing his military service, , Lom near Most, 1952
zdroj: archiv pamětníka

Otakar Švarc was born on the 21st of January 1931 in Zákřov near Olomouc in his parents´ house. His childhood was happy, a village boy childhood spent with his friends and two of his siblings until the time of his mother´s death. A year later, the tragedy culminates: at the very end of the war, in April 1945, his older brother and his father are brutally murdered and his birthplace burned to the ground by Russian Cossacks operating in the East Moravian region under the total command of the German Fascists. What follows for Otakar and his younger sister is an endless moving in and out from one relative to another. Later Otakar is apprenticed as a machinist, starts military service but soon opts for work in North Bohemian coal mines. He then spends all his working life at the Kohinoor 2 coal mine near Most. He is married, has two sons. The trauma of his dear ones being killed and a loss of his home has been with him ever since.